KATHMANDU --- As per the highly placed source, Nepalese Army (NA) has purchased one AgustaWestland’s AW139 helicopter. The helicopter presently has been spotted flying at the Milan Area acquiring test registration ‘I-EASY’- C/N 31808 with its official Army Livery; National flag on the fin, six-sided red star bearing a yellow trident on the fuselage.
The AW139 Chopper delivery date has not been disclosed now but the another European made H125 Helicopter which is also been purchased by NA is presently at Airbus Helicopter Facility, Singapore and is expected to join the Mid-Air Base, 11 No Brigade, TIA by second week of July. The chopper has been allocated with Nepalese Army registration ‘NA-059’.
Although the government had decided on July last year to purchase three helicopters–one medium and two lights–for disaster response and rescue operations, the purchase of medium-size twin-engine helicopters has been put off as the price ceiling exceeded an earlier deal.
On July 2016, the immediate Defense Ministry Spokesperson had vowed that the cabinet had decided to begin the procurement process citing an immediate need of helicopters for the ceiling fixed earlier Nepalese Army. But after the Nepalese Army came up with a price that exceeded and couldn’t even meet the requirements sought, he added. As per the government decision, the Ministry of Defense had allocated Rs 3 billion for helicopters purchase.
Defense ministry officials said that the government has recently purchased two helicopters: one H125 (AS350 B3e) from Airbus Helicopters and one AgustaWestland AW139, but NA has also recommended for Bell 407 GXP.
Nepalese Army Aviation currently owns 10 aircraft which includes four MI-17, two Bell 206, two Écureuils and one Islander and one PZL M28 Sky truck. The defense force has recently sold its two Aérospatiale AS-332L-1 Super Pumas, an advanced chopper for VIPs, to China. (end of excerpt)
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